February 23rd, 2007


FireFox 2.0 ...

As noted previously in this space, I recently had to give up on Netscape, despite being a long-time (15 years?) user, and switch over to FireFox. I had a lot of resistance to this switch because I was so used to Netscape letting you "get under the hood" and really customize how things appeared/worked in terms of tabs, menus, etc. Well, most of that was fixed with the upgrade to FF2 ... it's still not quite where I'd like it to be (I can't seem to get the stuff on the "Bookmarks Toolbar" to open in a new tab when clicked, for example, and I'd really like to flip the order of "Open Link in New Window"/"Open Link in New Tab" on the pop-up menu from right-clicking on a link), but it's a lot closer than the earlier version.

However, I'm finding all sorts of cool things that I wasn't expecting. As noted (back in that post about stamps), if you open up a graphic (i.e. do "view image") a tiny version of it appears both in the navigation bar, and on the tab (and it even keeps animated .gifs' animation in the miniature versions!). Also, it seems to have a built-in spellchecker, with wavy red underlines just like in MSWord, which has been a great help in things like posting comments in L.J. or in the Groups over on LibraryThing. These are just the new features I've noticed. Anybody know of other cool things FF2 does that I've not noticed yet?

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Virtual waiting room ...

I am currently in the Cubs' "virtual waiting room". I have been in the "virtual waiting room" since 10:00am, although I was in the "virtual line" for the "virtual waiting room" since that opened up at 9:30. I should be reasonably far up the queue, although no indication is given (it would be handy to have been assigned a number) of where you are. I had opened up www.time.gov and waited for the exact moment of 9:30am to hit the appropriate link (which previously had just told you to go away until 9:30) to get into the "virtual line" for the "virtual waiting room", and as I've not gone anywhere in the intervening fifty-some-odd minutes, I keep telling myself that "any time now" I will be ushered into some "virtual ticket window" page.

The "virtual waiting room" window (as did the "virtual line" for the "virtual waiting room" before it), features a bit of code with a button whose text counts down from "0 minutes 30 seconds" to "0 minutes 0 seconds" and then refreshes the screen. At 10:00am, the screen changed from saying "Tickets will go on sale at 10:00am" to "Tickets for 2007 home games are on sale now.", which let me know that I had moved from the "line" to the "waiting room". Also at 10:00 an additional bit of text appeared at the bottom of the screen (most of which is taken up by "rules" for the single-ticket sale and explaining how we have to be real patient) which says "Tickets are no longer available at this time for the following games:", with (currently) another line, in red, saying "none" ... I assume that this will change as the morning progresses.

Why, you ask, am I in the Cubs' "virtual waiting room"? Well, you see ... on Sunday, August 5 (a game against the Mets), the first 5,000 girls, age 14 and younger, will get "Limited-edition American Girl® doll-sized Chicago Cubs apparel" ... and being as I have two "girls, age 14 and younger", each of whom is the proud mama of an American Girl® doll, it just seemed like an effort that I, as a doting Father, should at least make to get tickets.

Needless to say, I am hoping that some Upper Deck Reserved (cheap) seats might be available, since neither of The Girls has any interest in baseball, and I sure don't want to make this way more expensive than just buying an A.G. outfit (yeah, this is more "special", etc.), which would cost around $25. Unfortunately this is a "Prime Date" for the Cubs tickets (which now have 3 sets of prices, "Value", "Regular" and "Prime"), meaning that the tickets are like 25% more than usual, and putting the cheapest ticket at $19/$20 (U.D.R. Outfield/Infield). I'm going to be faced with a decision if they only have pricier seats, as I'd really rather not be spending over a hundred bucks, and the next cheapest seats are $30 a pop!

I just wish I knew what the procedure is once one gets to the front of the line in the "virtual waiting room" ... with the screen refreshing every 30sec, it does give one a sense of urgency, and a hesitancy to either walk away from the computer, or get too involved in something else on the computer! I would hate to have waited this long only to find that (in a potty break, for instance) my "window of advancement" had expired while not looking at the "virtual waiting room" screen! (sigh) They've been selling tickets for nearly an hour now ... it would be nice to have some idea of just how far back in line I am!

Update: 11:22am
The first "sold out" date appeared on-screen: May 19th vs. the White Sox.
At least I now know there is something happening beyond the repeating 30-sec countdown!

Update: 12:15pm
More "sold out" dates, 5/18 and 5/20 vs. the Sox, plus 4/9 vs. the Astros and 8/18 vs. the Cardinals.
Hopefully all those folks in line in front of me are looking for the "hot" games and there'll be some cheap seats left for the "doll game"!

Update: 12:50pm
More "sold out" dates (yeah, like you care), 4/21 vs. the Cardinals, 7/14 vs. the Astros, (worryingly close to my target date) 8/4 vs. the Mets, and 8/19 vs. the Cardinals.
C'mon ... I've been holding here for 3 hours ... how many people got in during the few seconds before I did???

Update: 1:30pm
It's been FOUR HOURS. Come on! I got "in line" at about 9:30:02, how many people managed to get in before me in those few seconds???? No more "sold out" updates as yet.

Update: 2:20pm
Man, this is getting old. Some more sold out dates, though: 6/2 vs. Atlanta, and 8/17 vs. the Cardinals.

Update: 4:10pm
A few more dates sold out ... 6/16 vs. San Diego and 6/30 vs. Milwaukee ... I know you're on pins and needles over this.
Oh, and, I don't think I saw this bit before: "All patrons are selected from the Virtual Waiting Room on a random basis ...", which means that somebody could just have gotten in and be picked right away, while somebody could have been sitting in there for SIX FUCKING HOURS (ahem) and not been called. Damn. I think I'd have been happier had they assigned us a number, and dropped a cookie on our browser.

Update: 5:15pm
Godamnmotherfuckingpieceofshit! I finally get into the window where I can buy tickets, but OF COURSE, the ONE game that I'm wanting tickets for just sold out. Like Caligula says in the movie named after him ... "If only all of Rome had just one neck!"

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Uh, have I mentioned how much I hate the fucking bid-bots on eBay?

Yeah? Thought so.

I've been on one of my "Jay&Marie" ventures, and have picked up 9 CDs, and was really hoping for 10-12. I was just watching the end of the last one I had a bid on (I'd "lost" another 10 over the past 24 hours), and was thinking "well, with this one I can wrap this up and do the payment", when with THREE FUCKING SECONDS remaining, some asswipe swoops in and tops my (admittedly tiny ... I'm trying to get these for 1¢ each!) bid. Few things make me immediately want to grab a 2x4 and re-arrange somebody's face as getting beat by a goddam bot!

Betweeen this (now I'm going to have to wait hours more for some that I've been watching to come up), and the eternal damnation to the Cubs' "Virtual Waiting Room" (4:40 in the queue and counting), as well as some other stuff that would just jack my blood pressure to even get into, I'm having a real pisser of a day.

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill! (to paraphrase Arlo Guthrie)

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So, there I sat, being one of the very first ones on-line for the single-ticket sales, for SEVEN HOURS. And, finally I get channelled into the window where I could buy some tickets. You know what happened? Some time in the fifteen minutes preceding that, THE DAMN GAME SOLD OUT. Fuck. I want to run somebody (well, probably a lot of somebodies) through a woodchipper right about now.

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OK, so the day was not a TOTAL disaster

But it was sure heading in that direction. We had Daughter #1's "history fair" tonight, with features a pot-luck dinner with (ideally) "culturally significant" dishes. We were supposed to have been over there at 5:30 but were a half hour late because The Wife (without telling me) decided that she was going to skip that and just show up later for the fair ... I had even asked her (at about 5:10) "shouldn't we be getting going?" to which she shrugged and said something to the effect of "Well, it' not till 5:30.". So I waited, and waited, and eventually The Girls came in and wondered when we were heading out. I totally lost it at that point (it had been a real swell day anyway), and we stormed over to their school, getting there about 6:00 ... now, I hate being late to anything ... it always seems the biggest "avoidable failure" and it makes me crazy, especially when Other People fuck with my schedule.

Anyway ... we ate ... we looked at the History Fair projects (Daughter #1 did hers on the Eastland Disaster) ... #2 ran around and snagged balloons ... and we came home.

As I noted earlier (in the context of some motherfucking bot cutting me off at 3 seconds to close), I had been doing some Jay&Marie music shopping ... these are that eBay mega-seller (doing about 20,000 sales a month!) which starts all their auctions off at a penny. My "game" is to go in, find things that aren't bid on as yet that look interesting, listen to the 30-second clips of the albums via the Amazon listings, and then try to get a bunch (10-12) of CDs for 1¢ each. I was worried that this was going to drag on when I had several "near misses", but I finally just got the 12th one won. So, I will have a bunch of new music in a week or so, for the total damages of $14.67 (of which $0.22 was the costs of the CDs ... one came through at a whopping 11¢ ... with the rest being shipping). Not bad getting 12 albums for the price of 1 (sounds like an intro deal on a record club!).

Anyway, at least that feels good after the buzzsaw nightmare the rest of this day was.

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